Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


NZ meat industry tie-up stumbled on differing strategies

NZ meat industry consolidation stumbled on differing strategies, uncommitted farmer suppliers

By Tina Morrison

Aug. 21 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand meat companies abandoned efforts to consolidate and reduce surplus capacity last year because they lacked an agreed export strategy and farmers wouldn’t commit stock to firms that closed plants, industry sources say.

The country’s four biggest meat processors - farmer owned cooperatives Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group, accounting for about half the industry, the Talley’s Group family-owned Affco and ANZCO Foods, with a majority ownership held by a Japanese food company - ended talks after failing to reach agreement last year.

A proposal for competitors to share the cost of closing plants was rejected, as was a plan for each company to retain its stock volumes for a period of up to five years following a closure, so they weren’t disadvantaged, according to people involved in the talks, who asked not to be named.

The fragmented industry ownership and lack of agreement about how to market New Zealand meat overseas hindered the meat companies from conforming to a model which locked in supply, especially amongst the 17 odd smaller exporters who would need to broadly agree to consolidation. Meat companies are using different strategies to market their product to the world, ranging from Silver Fern Farms’ branded cuts for the supermarket shelf, to Affco’s high-throughput model, making it difficult to reach consensus.

Meanwhile, farmers, who play meat companies off to get the best farmgate returns, were advised not to commit stock through long-term agreements to support meat companies who were reducing capacity, on concern it would reduce competition, the people said.

The cooperatives face tension from their farmer shareholders wanting higher farm gate prices for the stock they supply versus the longer term gains they could obtain from retaining earnings in the business to reinvest in marketing and product development, to build higher returns for the future.

New Zealand meat companies haven’t significantly reduced their processing capacity even as sheep numbers fall. New Zealand sheep numbers fell below 30 million this year, from a peak of about 70 million in 1982, according to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service.

Meat is the nation’s second-largest commodity export, worth about $5.6 billion a year, behind dairy products at $15.8 billion, according to government figures.

Processors are competing for the diminishing supply, as increased throughput of livestock makes their plants more efficient. That means in times of scarce supply, farmers are paid a higher price for their livestock which bears little relationship to what the final consumer is prepared to pay as processors avoid having their plants sit idle.

Dunedin-based Silver Fern Farms, which had $2 billion of annual sales last year, will probably provide an update on a PriceWaterhouseCoopers strategic review of the business in its annual report published towards the end of this calendar year. The review, which focused on future options following the stalled industry aggregation discussions, was presented to the meat company’s board in February.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Final Frontier: Rocket Lab And NASA Sign Commercial Space Launch Agreement

Rocket Lab has signed a Commercial Space Launch Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The agreement enables Rocket Lab to use NASA resources - including personnel, facilities and equipment - for launch and reentry efforts. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Wheeler Downplays Scope For ‘Large’ Rates Fall

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler says some market commentators are predicting further declines in interest rates that would only make sense for an economy in recession, although some easing is likely to be needed to maintain New Zealand’s economic growth. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha Dam: Consent Conditions Could Mean Reduced Intensity

Legal advice sought by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on the Ruataniwha Dam consent conditions has confirmed that farmers who sign up to take water from the dam could be required to reduce the intensity of their farming operation to meet the catchment’s strict nitrogen limit. More>>

Health And Safety: Bill Now Sees Rules Relaxed For Small Businesses

Health and safety law reform sparked by the Pike River coalmine disaster has been reported back from the industrial relations select committee with weakened requirements on small businesses to appoint health and safety representatives and committees. More>>

ALSO:

Bearing Fruit: Annual Fruit Exports Hit $2 Billion For First Time

The value of fruit exported rose 20 percent (up $330 million) for the June 2015 year when compared with the year ended June 2014. Both higher prices and a greater quantity of exports (up 9.0 percent) contributed to the overall rise. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news